Last month the New York State ESD (Empire State Development Corp.) released a draft scope of work
for the "Empire Station Complex"
. Governor Cuomo's full grand vision includes constructing Moynihan + Penn Station South and demolishing the existing buildings in the area to replace them with new office towers as part of a new district, funded with value capture, and presumed completed by 2038.
Pictures from the presentation:
There was also an online hearing
with a presentation
held by ESD on July 20th, which I missed and only found out about from Twitter
While I probably wouldn't parse it as strongly as the tweet, I have to say I'm no fan of this project either. I've never supported Penn South (ARC Alt-G diehard here) and I'm not sure what to make of the state wanting to create another big office district on the West Side right after Hudson Yards (though I suppose Hudson Yards is more mixed-use than this proposal). To say nothing of the recent East Midtown rezoning (I think I know a railroad project which could help strengthen that rezoning...)
Looks like the project also includes a proposal to renovate and reopen the old Gimbels Passageway under 33rd Street between Herald Square and Penn Station (which, for those unaware, was closed in the 1980s. Real estate company Vornado proposed
to reopen the passage a decade ago as part of a proposal
to replace the Hotel Pennsylvania with a new skyscraper, 15 Penn Plaza
, which fell through). To my knowledge, reopening the passageway didn't come up at all during discussion of the renovations to the LIRR concourse and the under-construction new 33rd St entrance. Looks like reopening of the passageway continues to be contingent on redevelopment of the parcels above. (For what it's worth, according to the New York Post a decade ago
, the MTA, Amtrak and Vornado could not all agree who owns the passageway). Unfortunate that a reopening is tied to a project like this. Cuomo is pushing it, so I have little doubt it'll move forward when/if the economy starts to recover - he probably won't be leaving office anytime soon.
On another note, it's funny to see this recently-made document refer to the V train, which was discontinued ten years ago and folded into the M line.
Edit: Usual disclaimer that this was made pre-COVID, but the draft scope of work indeed states that LIRR service to Penn will/would have decrease(d) after East Side Access opens, in case that's something that people are still thinking about. Also, comments on the draft scope of work for the project are being accepted through August 20th.